January 29th, 2015 by Nancy
I am really, really scared of bugs. When I first read the description and saw the book cover for Masterpiece by Elise Broach, I was pretty conflicted:
As you can see, Masterpiece falls right in the middle there. With a creepy crawly bug in the center of the cover! But despite my pathetic fear of tiny things that I can crush and/or outrun, after reading Masterpiece, I’ve decided that beetles are not so bad — but only when they are adorable, art-loving, clever, and adventurous book characters!
Marvin the beetle lives with his beetle family under the kitchen sink of the Pompadays’ apartment in New York City. Even though he can’t speak to humans, he can understand them— especially 11-year-old James Pompaday. After James’ father gives James a pen-and-ink set, Marvin draws a tiny painting for James as a birthday gift… and this painting changes James and Marvin’s lives forever!
When James’ mother, father, and stepfather discover the miniature drawing, they assume James drew it. Before James and Marvin know it, they’re caught up in an art heist at the world-famous Metropolitan Museum of Art! But is it a heist if it’s staged? Or are the stolen paintings the biggest hoax of all? Who is the true criminal among friends? The unlikeliest of friends— a quiet boy and a beetle smaller than a pinky nail— are on the case!
Read this if you like…
- Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
- A Cricket in Times Square by George Seldon
- Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald
- The Chasing Vermeer series by Blue Balliett
- The Borrowers series by Mary Norton
Even though this book starts kind of quietly, it picks up steam really fast. And one of my favorite parts of the book is the illustrations inside the book by Kelly Murphy — check out some here! (A message for illustrator Kelly Murphy and author Elise Broach if you’re reading this: this book could be a really awesome graphic novel. Just think about it.)
If you decide that you like this dynamic duo, Marvin and James continue their adventures in the series the Miniature World of Marvin and James, for slightly younger readers.
Nancy once walked around a house to avoid a caterpillar blocking the front door. Also, why does the word “caterpillar” look so much like a caterpillar? Ewwww…